Pixel Scroll 11/21/18 Never Pixel Or Scrollardy. Never Click Up, Never File In

(1) WORLD FANTASY CON. After Silvia Moreno-Garcia criticized WFC 2019 for announcing an all-white guest slate, the concom’s answer did not allay complaints. And the World Fantasy Convention Board’s answer to a letter she sent them has only fanned the flames. Moreno-Garcia’s screencap of their reply is part of a reaction thread which starts here.

Once the copy of the letter was tweeted, the WFC Board and World Fantasy Con 2019 came in for another round of criticism from writers including —

  • N.K. Jemisin (Thread starts here.)

  • Jeff VanderMeer (Thread starts here.)

  • S.A. Chakraborty (Thread starts here.)

  • Michi Trota (Thread starts here.)

  • Fonda Lee (Thread starts here.)

(2) JEMISIN AT HAYDEN PLANETARIUM. On Tuesday, November 27 the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater in New York will host “Astronomy Live: The Perfect Planet”.

Earth is a rare and special place in the universe. Astrophysicist Jackie Faherty joins forces with Broken Earth series author N.K. Jemisin to examine what makes our planet unique compared to others in our solar system and beyond. Find out where artists and scientist alike look for life beyond Earth, from Io to Enceladus and beyond.

(3) DON’T RALPH. NPR’s Scott Tobias tells us “Toxic Masculinity Is The Bad Guy In ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet'”.

In Ralph Breaks the Internet, a hyperconnected sequel to the animated hit Wreck-It Ralph, the possibilities of a Disney/Star Wars/Marvel crossover are breathlessly celebrated while fragile masculinity threatens to destroy the world. Cultural anthologists of the future will require no carbon dating to recognize this film as extremely 2018. In fact, as a screen grab of online and entertainment culture, Ralph Breaks the Internet seizes so shrewdly on the times that the prospect of watching it 10, 20 or 100 years from now is more exciting than seeing it in a theater today, when it feels too much like an animated extension of everyday stresses and distractions. Clickability isn’t always a virtue.

(4) CRITICS AT THE FBI. The Harper’s Magazine post “Literary Agents” has excerpts from Writers Under Surveillance in which they reprint the FBI’s description of writers they were watching.

The FBI said Ray Bradbury was “a freelance science fiction writer whose work dealt with the development and exploitation of Mars, its effect on mankind, and its home world.”

By contrast, they said Gore Vidal was “A writer who is intolerable, masquerading as smart-aleck entertainment.”

(5) COURSE CORRECTION. In “DC’s Birds Of Prey a ‘great opportunity’ to end ‘sluggish’ films”, a BBC writer asks, “Could this be DC’s Guardians of the Galaxy moment?”

Movies about Superman and Justice League may have flopped with the critics, but DC will be hoping to find more favourable reviews for new franchise, Birds Of Prey.

Or, to give the movie its full title: Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn.

Margot Robbie revealed the full title of the film on Instagram.

And it certainly seems like they are steering away from the dark, sour tones of Batman vs Superman this time around.

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(6) GOREY FLASHBACKS. A new biography tells of “The mysterious, macabre mind of Edward Gorey”. The title/author are somewhat buried in the article– Born To Be Posthumous by Mark Dery.

That he is not better known elsewhere is perhaps due to the unclassifiable nature of his work – yet his influence can be seen everywhere, from the films of Tim Burton to the novels of Neil Gaiman and Lemony Snicket.

Gorey himself was a complicated, reclusive individual whose mission in life was “to make everybody as uneasy as possible”. He collected daguerreotypes of dead babies and lived alone with 20,000 books and six cats in his New York apartment. Sporting an Edwardian beard, he would frequently traipse around the city in a full-length fur coat accessorised with trainers and jangling bracelets.

(7) UNDER AN ASSUMED NAME. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast has tons of advice to share — “SFFMP 208: Improving Visibility, Launching New Pen Names, and the ‘Trifecta of Indie Success’”.

This week, we’re joined by fantasy and science fiction author Nicholas Erik, who also writes and experiments under the pen name D.N. Erikson. He’s an analytical guy who’s always observing what’s working and what’s not, both for his own work and for others.

  • Reasons for launching a pen name and whether it should be secret or not.
  • Trying a new series and new genre when you’re not getting the results you hoped for from your first effort.
  • Nick’s “trifecta of indie success” — marketing, craft, and productivity….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • November 21, 1924 – Christopher J. R. Tolkien, 94, Writer and Editor who is the son of  J. R. R. Tolkien, and editor of so much of his father’s posthumously-published material. He drew the original maps for the Lord of the Rings, and provided much of the feedback on both The Hobbit and LoTR; his father invited him to join the Inklings when he was just twenty-one years old, making him the youngest member of that group. He published The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise: Translated from the Icelandic with Introduction, Notes and Appendices. The list  of his father’s unfinished works which he has edited and brought to published form is a long one; I’ll leave it to the august group here to discuss their merit, as I have mixed feelings on them.
  • November 21, 1937 – Ingrid Pitt, Actor from Poland who emigrated to the UK who is best known as Hammer Films’ most sexy female vampire of the early Seventies. Would I kid you? Her first genre roles were in the Spanish movie Sound of Horror and the science-fictional The Omegans, followed by the Hammer productions The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, and The House That Dripped Blood. She appeared in the original version of The Wicker Man and had parts in Octopussy, Clive Barker’s Underworld, Dominator, and Minotaur. She had two different roles in Doctor Who – somewhat of a rarity – as Dr. Solow in the “Warriors of the Deep” episode and as Galleia in “The Time Monster” episode. (Died 2010.)
  • November 21, 1941 – Ellen Asher, 77, Editor who introduced many fans to their favorites, as editor-in-chief of the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) for thirty-four years, from 1973 to 2007 (exceeding John W. Campbell’s record as the person with the longest tenure in the same science fiction job). She was personally responsible for selecting the monthly offerings to subscribers, and oversaw the selection of individual works for their special anthologies and omnibuses. She has been honored with a World Fantasy Special Award and an Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction. In 2009, she was given a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and she was Editor Guest of Honor at Worldcon in 2011.
  • November 21, 1942 – Al Matthews, Actor, Singer, and former Marine with two Purple Hearts, who is best known for his appearance as Gunnery Sergeant Apone in Aliens – a performance so memorable that his character was the inspiration for Sgt. Avery Johnson in the Halo franchise. He reprised his role 27 years later in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines. Other genre films include The Fifth Element, Superman III, Riders of the Storm (aka The American Way), Omen III, The Sender,  and Tomorrow Never Dies. (Died 2018.)
  • November 21, 1944 – Harold Ramis, Actor, Writer, and Producer, best-known to genre fans for his role as Egon Spengler in the Saturn-winning, Oscar- and Hugo-nominated Ghostbusters and its lesser sibling Ghostbusters II (the scripts for both of which he co-wrote with Dan Aykroyd). He had voice roles in Heavy Metal and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, and a cameo in Groundhog Day, for which he received Saturn nominations for writing and directing. He was also director and producer of Multiplicity. (Died 2014.)
  • November 21, 1945 – Vincent Di Fate, 73, Artist and Illustrator who has done many SFF book covers and interior illustrations since his work first appeared in the pages of Analog in 1965. He was one of the founders of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA), and is a past president. In addition to his Chesley Award trophy and 7 nominations, he has been a finalist for the Professional Artist Hugo 11 times, winning once; two collections of his artwork, Infinite Worlds: The Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art and Di Fate’s Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware, have been Hugo finalists as well. He was Artist Guest of Honor at the 1992 Worldcon, for which he organized their Art Retrospective exhibit. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011. You can see galleries of his works at his website.
  • November 21, 1950 – Evelyn C. Leeper, 68, Writer, Editor, Critic, and Fan, who is especially known for her decades of detailed convention reports and travelogues. A voracious reader, she has also posted many book reviews. She and her husband Mark founded the Mt. Holz Science Fiction Club at Bell Labs in New Jersey (Mt = abbreviation for the labs’ Middletown facility), and have produced their weekly fanzine, the MT VOID (“empty void”), since 1978; it is currently at Issue #2,041. She was a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for 20 years. She has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times, and Fan Guest of Honor at several conventions, including a Windycon.
  • November 21, 1953 – Lisa Goldstein, 65, Writer, Fan, and Filer whose debut novel, The Red Magician, was so strong that she was a finalist for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer two years in a row. Her short fiction has garnered an array of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominations, as well as a Sidewise Award. The short story “Cassandra’s Photographs” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist and “Alfred” was a World Fantasy and Nebula finalist; both can be found in her collection Travellers in Magic. Her novel The Uncertain Places won a Mythopoeic Award. You can read about her work in progress, her reviews of others’ stories, and other thoughts at her blog.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Rabbits Against Magic has a wonderful “Cartoon Lexiconville” showing English words and phrases that were originated in or popularized by comic strips.
  • Pay attention authors! Incidental Comics illustrates “Types of Narrators.”

(10) FLAME ON! “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fry!” – is not a quote from “’Eat, Fry, Love’ a Turkey Fryer Fire Cautionary Tale presented by William Shatner & State Farm.” (Released in 2011 but it’s news to me!)

It is a turkey fryer cautionary tale with excellent video of the dangers associated with using turkey fryers. It shows how fire can rapidly intensify, spread, destroy and cause serious injury. Enjoy this video, learn from it and stay safe.

 

(11) SICKROOM HISTORY. Brenda Clough tells Book View Café readers it’s easy to make — “Feeding Your Invalid in the 19th Century 2: Barley Water”.

Horatio Wood’s ‘Treatise on therapeutics’ (1879) says that “Barley-water is used as a nutritious, demulcent drink in fevers.” It is still in use….

(12) PRIME TIMING. At NPR — “Optimized Prime: How AI And Anticipation Power Amazon’s 1-Hour Deliveries”. Skeptic Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “I’ll believe in their AI when it issues delivery instructions good enough that packages for someone else’s front door don’t show up at my side door.”

But a lot of it is thanks to artificial intelligence. With AI, computers analyze reams of data, making decisions and performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI is key to Amazon’s retail forecasting on steroids and its push to shave off minutes and seconds in the rush to prepare, pack and deliver.

“It goes beyond just being able to forecast we need a hundred blouses,” Freshwater says. “We need to be able to determine how many do we expect our customers to buy across the sizes, and the colors. And then … where do we actually put the product so that our customers can get it when they click ‘buy.’ ”

That’s a key element to how Amazon speeds up deliveries: The team predicts exactly where those blouses should be stocked so that they are as close as possible to the people who will buy them.

(Note: Amazon is one of NPR’s financial supporters.)

This process is even more essential now that the race is on for same-day and even same-hour delivery. Few other retailers have ventured into these speeds, because they’re very expensive. And few rely quite so much on AI to control costs while expanding.

(13) THE ROADS MUST ROIL. NPR finds “Climate Change Slows Oil Company Plan To Drill In The Arctic”. They were relying on winter ice to let gravel trucks drive out to build a drill pad in the water. No ice, no driving.

A milestone oil development project in Alaska’s Arctic waters is having to extend its construction timeline to accommodate the warming climate. The recently approved Liberty Project — poised to become the first oil production facility in federal Arctic waters — has altered its plans due to the shrinking sea ice season.

The challenge comes as the Trump administration has reversed an Obama-era policy and proposed re-opening the majority of Alaska’s federal waters to drilling. It’s pushing to hold a lease sale in the Beaufort Sea next year. The lease for the Liberty Project pre-dates the Obama-era ban on oil development in Arctic waters.

(14) MORE BRICKS THAN LEGO. “Drones called in to save the Great Wall of China” – the BBC video shows how drone surveys identify the most-decayed parts of hard-to-reach sections, so reconstruction can be targeted where it’s most needed.

(15) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman has strategically released Episode 82 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast before people have a chance to stuff themselves on Thanksgiving. Scott invites you to savor a steak dinner with comics legend Paul Levitz.

Get ready to get nostalgic — or rather, listen to me get nostalgic — on an episode of Eating the Fantastic which features a guest I believe I’ve known longer than any other — comics legend Paul Levitz.

Paul and I go way back, all the way to Phil Seuling’s 1971 Comic Art Convention, when I would have been 16 and him 15, both fans and fanzine publishers, long before either of us had entered the comics industry as professionals. We later, along with a couple of other friends, roomed together at the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention in Washington D.C. As you listen, think of us as we were in the old days — that’s us in 1974 compared to us now —

In 1976, he became the editor of Adventure Comics before he’d even turned 20. He ended up working at DC Comics for more than 35 years, where he was president from 2002–2009. He’s probably best known for writing the Legion of Super-Heroes for a decade, scripting the Justice Society of America, and co-creating the character Stalker with Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko. He was given an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2002 and the Dick Giordano Hero Initiative Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2013 at the Baltimore Comic-Con. And if you try to lift his massive and essential history 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking, you’re going to need to see a chiropractor.

We discussed why even though in a 1973 fanzine he wrote he had “no desire to make a career for myself in this industry” he’s spent his life there, how wild it was the suits let kids like us run the show in the ’70s, the time Marv Wolfman offered him a job over at Marvel (and why he turned it down), what he learned from editor Joe Orlando about how to get the best work out of creative people, the bizarre reason Gerry Conway’s first DC Comics script took several years to get published, how he made the Legion of Super-Heroes his own, which bad writerly habits Denny O’Neil knocked out of him, the first thing you should ask an artist when you start working with them, why team books (of which he wrote so many) are easier to write, our shared love for “Mirthful” Marie Severin, how glad we are there was no such thing as social media when we got started in comics, why Roger Zelazny is his favorite science fiction writer, and much, much more.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Lurkertype, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/21/18 Never Pixel Or Scrollardy. Never Click Up, Never File In

  1. @10: those are some seriously impressive shots of planned disasters; I’m glad the crew were all wearing extensive gear.

  2. 1) I now wonder who the tacitly genocidal author S.A. Chakraborty mentioned is.

    7) I’m a regular listener of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast. This week’s episode didn’t do much for me, but I really liked last week’s.

  3. 1) WF Con guests

    Their problem is the limited number of diverse guests they’re willing to call on: We need diverse authors? Well ok, we’ll try Jemisin and LaValle. There aren’t any other diverse SFF authors out there, are there?

  4. One of my favorite Good Eats episodes of all time is the one where he deep fries a turkey, precisely because it includes a fairly spectacular “what could go horribly, horribly wrong” segment.

    Never gonna pixel up
    Never gonna godstalk down
    Never gonna scroll around
    And file you

  5. Have we done, “Never Pix up, Never Scrollender”?

    Related:
    “By Grabthar’s Pixel, by the Scrolls of Warvan, you shall be file’d.”

    Also related:
    “By Grabthar’s Pixel, what a Scrollings.”

  6. It’s pretty easy to work out who Chakraborty is talking about, given that WFC mostly limits authors to one panel appearance. I almost skipped the panel because of the person in question (but I’m glad I didn’t, and I found Chakraborty’s contributions insightful).

  7. 1) They really haven’t learned anything since Spicy (Racial Slur) Zeppelins, have they? Do they need some Binders Full of PoC? Have they considered the problem is them? Of course not. And I’m saying this as an extremely white person.

    4) They weren’t wrong about any of them.

    10) Oh the humanity!

    11) N.B. Chinese pearl barley isn’t actually barley, so the British and Chinese sorts aren’t the same. And of course you can buy barley in the US without importation; what an odd thing for her to think.

    12) Kablam!

    15) Ironically, the only place I’ve seen that book is in my chiropractor’s waiting room… hmmm….

    @Cora: a program guide, if one could be found, might provide the answer.

  8. So the year is 2003, and I am at the Pennsic War. I am camping in Chirurgeon’s Camp; I am not and never will be a chirurgeon (I puke at the sight/smell/sound of puke and sometimes faint at the sight of blood), but many others in my household are, and our head has volunteered us to run the camp – get meals made, clean up after, help people set up etc. One of our dinners is to be deep fried turkey with various sides.

    We have deep fried a turkey before, and then dealt with an unpleasant greasy spot in the commons area. This year we decide to put the fryer in the fire pit so the ashes and dirt can soak up any grease splatters. We make sure the previous night’s fire is completely out, rake the ashes thoroughly to make sure there are no hot spots, and set the fryer in the pit with its propane tank sitting just outside.

    Unfortunately things go south from there. The person in charge of this meal has bought 2 turkeys which exceeded the maximum recommended size for this fryer. She then proceeded to throw a tantrum on the day of the meal and absent herself from the camp, leaving the rest of us with only a vague notion of the overall plan. We coped as best we could.

    We set up the fryer per plan, then poured in the oil on hand. Deep-frying oil is generally strained and reused, but there’s always some loss, and it was clear that we didn’t have enough. The kids and the little red wagon were sent off to the camp store (much smaller than it is these days) to buy more. They returned with about a dozen small bottles of vegetable oil, and a tale of an encounter with a queen. I have no idea which queen. She saw them returning to camp with all the oil, and inquired if we were having a party. Facepalming adults. If we were having that kind of party, we wouldn’t have sent 12 year olds to buy the oil.

    People started opening bottles and pouring them in. I watched the level, and called a halt before it got too high. I then retired to the kitchen and started making the side dishes while the oil heated and a couple of other people got the smaller of the two turkeys ready to go in. We were too ignorant to turn off the flame before lowering it in, but there were no major mishaps. Some spitting and sputtering; little globs of oil turned into little fireballs that hit the ashes and went out.

    Meal prep continued while the first turkey cooked. It was pulled out, golden brown and aromatic. The thermometer pronounced it done, and it was removed to the kitchen. A gentleman and I started removing the dingle-dangle and discovered a surprise – plastic-glazed giblets. Oops. A hasty cavity search of the second turkey ensued. All clear.

    Meanwhile, back at the fryer, someone decided that the second, larger, bird would require more oil, and poured in the remaining bottles. We found the empties later. No one ever admitted to this piece of stupidity, and in the confusion of that evening probably only the culprit knows for sure. I know the gentleman and I dealing with the turkeys in the kitchen weren’t guilty.

    So we get the dingle-dangle installed in the larger bird and the gentleman inserts the hook and carries it out to the fryer. As he lowers it in it becomes apparent that there is TOO MUCH OIL in the fryer, and it’s starting to overflow. The gentleman hastily twitches the hook out and leaps backward, and is pulled out of the firepit safely. The turkey plummets the remaining distance into the pot and a tidal wave of oil descends. And lo! A pillar of fire ascends over the Serengeti! And I’m thinking it’s going to be very embarrassing to have a multi-casualty incident in Chirurgeon’s Camp….

    Fortunately, no one got hurt. The overflow stopped after a brief time, the ashes soaked up most of the spill, the pillar of fire went out. When we could clearly see the fryer, the turkey’s rear, the fatty bit sometimes called the Pope’s nose, could be seen sticking out above the oil. Someone behind me said “Oh, no! We’ll have to take it out and flip it over when it’s half done!” I briefly imagined that process, and said “No. We’ll take it out when it’s done and cut that part off and throw it away.” And so it was.

    The first turkey was more than enough to feed us all. We sent platters of turkey to Security and Troll. Lighting the next day’s campfire was….interesting.

    Hear endeth the tale of the Great Pennsic Turkey Conflagration. Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. @Anne Sheller: *applause* I read this to Mr. lurker, who also enjoyed it.

    I don’t know what that thing is actually called, but in honor of Shatner and yourself, I move that henceforth File 770 refer to it as “the dingle-dangle”.

  10. ” I now wonder who the tacitly genocidal author S.A. Chakraborty mentioned is.”

    It is S.M. Stirling.

  11. 8) re: Ingrid Pitt – was it rare for someone to have repeated appearances in Doctor Who? It’s a long-running show, and there’s only so many actors available (and willing to work for the money the show had available in the 60s and 70s.) Off the top of my head, I can think of several others – Philip Madoc, Edwin Richfield, Jacqueline Hill (one of the first companions, who came back in an unrelated role late in Tom Baker’s tenure), and of course Michael Sheard, who I think holds the record, with six different roles in the show’s history… possibly not counting the many, many people who lumbered around silently inside monster suits.

  12. 3) In related news, which is to say concerning Disney/Pixar releases, I have been informed that the home video release of The Incredibles 2 has tbeen adjusted to address the strobing issue. I now look forward to seeing the amended film for myself.

    8) It is technically accurate to say that I have collaborated with Vincent Di Fate. He drew the Statue of Liberty artwork for the first LibertyCon, which became the con’s logo. In 2006, as preparation for the con’s 20th anniversary in 2007, the concom decided to get travel coffee mugs made featuring this art in some fashion. The execution of this task fell to me.

    Some of you may have already ascertained the key difficulty here. The statue’s iconic pose is tall and skinny, but the printable area of such a mug is short and wide. This does not make for a harmonious mix. In addition, Di Fate’s artwork was grayscale while the printing requirements were strictly black-and-white, and this is where the collaborative aspect enters the story. It was my job to reduce the shading while respecting the artwork, and let’s just skip to the end.

    It got done, and when Vincent arrived at the hotel the day before the convention started (did I forget to mention that part?), I introduced myself as I had vowed to: “Hi, I’m the guy that butchered your artwork for the mugs.” He was actually quite nice about it. He appreciated that I’d tried to do right by him and his work, then proceeded to mention (without naming names) a few ways that other conventions had thoroughly trashed his art without even mentioning it. My skin still crawls at the idea that some con somewhere blithely changed the aspect ratio of his artwork to make it fit into a given printable area…

  13. Hampus Eckerman – It’s not like we lack for candidates. Could be practically any random Puppy.

  14. DC’s GAURDIANS OF THE GALAXY moment was the end of series three of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. If they wanted to, they could easily do THE INFERIOR FIVE.

  15. (12) I never worked directly with the Transport Team at Amazon, but I know they were a prestigious, high-morale operation. The most impressive thing they did that I knew about was their code that eliminated the need to create and maintain maps of the warehouses.

    You’d think that efficient software that routed “pickers” around the warehouses would need to know exactly where every bin was located. But what actually happened was that the system simply measures how long each person takes to get from one bin to another and from that derives the probably topology of the place. If there’s a temporary obstruction, it figures that out fairly quickly, and it’ll figure out a new warehouse in just a few days.

    It meets all three criteria to be a cool AI problem: a) it’s interesting in its own right b) a solution has real, measurable value c) they already have something that works well enough to use, so incremental improvements are worthwhile.

    I spent much of my career working on problems that never met criterion c. Speech recognition, for example, until recently (with Alexa, Google, Cortana, etc.) was never good enough for most purposes.

    Lots of folks have spent time on problems that didn’t meet criterion b; much of the “biology-inspired” AI falls into this camp. It sure sounds cool, but it’s hard to figure out what good it would be if it ever did work.

    And, of course, there’s nothing more discouraging to start a new job thinking you’re going to work on a cool AI problem only to discover that the system they’ve got is just a gigantic pile of if-then-else statements that needs endless manual tweaking. (Unless you’re in a position to replace that with something like a CART tree.)

  16. Happy Thanksgiving everyone

    13) closer to home, warming Lake Superior has made the ice road that is annually constructed between the mainland and Madeline island in Wisconsin a dicey affair. Many recent years, the ice has not been thick enough to cross that small bit of Lake Superior, which is a real problem for its residents, because the ferry doesn’t run in winter because even if there is not enough ice to construct a road for driving, there is too much ice for the ferry to run.

  17. Thanks for the title credit (two in a row).

    (6) With 20,000 books and 6 cats, you’re never alone.

  18. Steve Wright says re: Ingrid Pitt – was it rare for someone to have repeated appearances in Doctor Who? It’s a long-running show, and there’s only so many actors available (and willing to work for the money the show had available in the 60s and 70s.) Off the top of my head, I can think of several others – Philip Madoc, Edwin Richfield, Jacqueline Hill (one of the first companions, who came back in an unrelated role late in Tom Baker’s tenure), and of course Michael Sheard, who I think holds the record, with six different roles in the show’s history… possibly not counting the many, many people who lumbered around silently inside monster suits.

    You’re most likely right. I don’t take a lot of time researching these statements before writing them out as, well, there are other things that need doing. And I know y’all will correct them if I’m wrong .

  19. 4) This description of Gore Vidal is too dismissive. He was a brilliant essayist and critic. United States: Essays 1952-1992 includes some very fine pieces.

    Not to mention the fact that his 1964 book “Julian” served as the direct inspiration for Robert Charles Wilson’s Hugo-nominated 2010 novel “Julian Comstock.”

  20. 4) Olav : It is not too dismissive, since Gore Vidal, for all his erudition and intellect was a vain publicity seeking whore. And he loved being on television, where he conducted himself in a splendid and overbearing manner. You can look at his interview with Dick Cavett and Norman Mailer.

  21. @Cat Eldridge – I suppose, to be fair, Ingrid Pitt is somewhat more famous than the usual run of jobbing actors getting multiple roles. (And I forgot the two most glaringly obvious examples – Colin Baker, as Commander Maxil and later the Sixth Doctor, and Peter Capaldi, as Caecilius and the Twelfth!)

  22. Ingrid Pitt has one of those name combinations that is involuntarily funny. The typical swedish first name combined with the swedish name for the male genitals.

  23. Steve Wright notes @Cat Eldridge – I suppose, to be fair, Ingrid Pitt is somewhat more famous than the usual run of jobbing actors getting multiple roles. (And I forgot the two most glaringly obvious examples – Colin Baker, as Commander Maxil and later the Sixth Doctor, and Peter Capaldi, as Caecilius and the Twelfth!)

    Taking these Birthday notes seriously strikes me as a very silly idea. So I don’t. I was tempted to make a snarky note that it seemed Pitt spent more time in the bath than she did wearing clothes in her films but I didn’t…

  24. I don’t know about the birthday notes, but I’m pretty sure nobody ever took Hammer Horror films seriously… Ingrid Pitt herself had some splendid anecdotes (like the scene where she accidentally dropped her vampire fangs down Kate O’Mara’s cleavage, for instance).

  25. Steve Wright saysI don’t know about the birthday notes, but I’m pretty sure nobody ever took Hammer Horror films seriously… Ingrid Pitt herself had some splendid anecdotes (like the scene where she accidentally dropped her vampire fangs down Kate O’Mara’s cleavage, for instance).

    Chortle! And they kept that bit in the final print? Nice. To my thinking, horror is the direct descendant of pulp.

  26. @Lisa Goldstein
    Happy birthday and all the best for the next 35 years at least.

    1) I checked the World Fantasy program and found the respective panel. What gets me most about this was that it was a panel about fantasy and food. So what about a food panel prompted white male dude author to call for the genocide of European muslims? An unreasonable hatred of döner kebap, falafel and couscous salad?

  27. He is well-known for calling for genocide since before. Honestly, I can’t believe that a convention works for diversity if they invite him for a panel.

  28. Rochrist:

    Pretty spot on with the Gore Vidal assessment.

    I never liked what I read of Vidal either (a couple of novels), but I have to say that I’d probably enjoy this.

  29. (8) DiFate was a guest at Sci-Con, many years ago, and we chatted briefly on the topic of Ralph Bakshi, who he worked for early in his career. I asked what he was like, and DiFate said, “When you shook hands with him, it was always good to count your fingers afterwards.”

    (14) My impression from walking on the Great Wall (apart from “it is hot”) is that the actual age of the parts we walk on are only a handful of decades. When you see sections of feral wall that parallel the tidy, civilized one, you realize they are in a never-ending plate-spinning race with decay.

    Scrolling away on the zines of Time.

  30. @Greg Hullender:

    I spent much of my career working on problems that never met criterion c. Speech recognition, for example, until recently (with Alexa, Google, Cortana, etc.) was never good enough for most purposes.

    Some decades back, a friend of mine showed up at a party wearing a t-shirt with the same cartoon drawing on front and back, of a seaside landscape with litter strewn around it. The caption on the front: ‘I helped Apple recognize speech.’ And on the back: ‘I helped Apple wreck a nice beach.’

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